Puppy nutrition

How big is my puppy likely to grow?

It is important to have an idea of how big your puppy will become so that your puppy gets fed the correct diet for his/her breed size. Each size of dog grows at a different rate and therefore will have different nutritional requirements.

Small Breedsproud dog

Require plenty of proteins, carbohydrates & fats. They will stop growing at about 8 months old, so this diet will encourage a quick, healthy growth rate.

Medium Breeds

Require a high intake of energy & nutrients, as well as balanced amounts of calcium & phosphorus for steady bone mineralization. They will stop growing at around 12 months old.

Large & Giant Breeds

Stop growing at 15-18 months, and 18-24 months respectively. They will need a controlled energy intake food with moderate fat, to ensure correct formation of the skeleton without excessive weight gain. This is particularly important in giant breeds, as joint development is critical because as adults they will be put under a lot of pressure.

Bear in mind that the biscuits in diets designed for different sized breeds come in appropriate sizes and textures to prevent damage to teeth and jaws.

Nutrient groups

As with a human nutrition, a puppies body needs nutrients like protein, fat and fibre to function. Ingredients are simply vehicles that deliver this mixture of nutrients to the body.

When choosing the ingredients for pet food, it's the total nutrient balance of ingredients that's important. A nutrient is any food constituent that helps support life. Each of the six nutrient groups plays an important role in your pet's health:

  • Proteins: Main element of body tissues like muscles, blood, skin, organs, hair and nails.
  • Carbohydrates: Provide energy for the body's tissues.
  • Fats: Fats absorb, store and transport vitamins, moisturise skin and coat, make food taste great and supply energy.
  • Water: The most critical nutrient for survival.
  • Vitamins: Assist in maintaining an animal's metabolism.
  • Minerals: Necessary to develop healthy skin & hair, skeletal support and development.

Avoiding nutrient excesses

Remember that more nutrients are NOT always better in pet nutrition - many nutrients are actually toxic in excessive amounts! Every dog has unique nutritional needs based on age, health, size and activity level.

Too much protein in a dog’s diet will cause an increased growth rate, which in return can cause skeletal and muscular defects.

It is important that your puppy’s diet only contains a moderate amount of salt. It is required in the diet to control their electrolyte balance. However excessive amounts can put a strain on their heart and kidneys. It is ideal for your puppy to have no sugar in their diet, as this can contribute to obesity and can cause damage to their teeth.

canfoodFeeding Routines

It is wise to give your puppy has a regular feeding routine.

Ideally a puppy aged 8-12 weeks will be fed 4 times daily,
One aged 12-16 weeks will be fed 3 times daily,
Once your puppy is 16 weeks old, their diet can be reduced to twice daily.

The recommended daily allowance of food should be split equally into the number of meals they need.

Should I use wet or dry food?

Wet and dry foods both have advantages and disadvantages. Generally most Vets and vet nurses advise a modern dry food, but there is no right or wrong, just choice!

The main advantage of dry food is that it is more economical – with wet foods, you will be paying for a product that is usually around 75% water, whereas dry food only contains 10% water. Why pay for water when you can get it for free out of your tap? Obviously, a small disadvantage of dry food will then be that your pet will be more thirsty and therefore drink more water, which makes the water content of wet food an advantage.

Dry food lasts a lot longer once the bag is opened – you’ll be able to safely use it right up until the whole bag is finished. Wet food is only usually safe to keep for 24-48 hrs once opened. It is a myth that dry food is “good for teeth” as the kibble is not abrasive enough to clean teeth, unless specifically designed for this. Other precautions need to be taken to contribute towards dental health; these are explained within another leaflet.

Foods for a puppy to avoid!

Foods to avoid giving to your puppy include chocolate, grapes, raisins, onion and garlic.

These are extremely toxic to dogs, and can cause illness. In extreme cases, they can even cause a fatality. It is advisable to only feed your dog food which is designed for dogs, to be certain that they don’t consume anything which may be toxic to them.

Treats can be given in moderation. Too many treats may cause an upset stomach, as they tend to be quite rich – so it is recommended that they are only given as a reward for good behaviour.

If you have any problems or queries, please don't hesitate to call us and we'll be happy to help.

Good luck with your new family member and we look forward to seeing you again!

Emergency service

Holly House Veterinary Hospital, 468 Street Lane, Moortown, Leeds  LS17 6HA      t. 0113 2369030      info@hollyhousevets.co.uk

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